Decorative wrought-iron wall panels can be used indoors and out. Not only functional as gates, balcony railings, garden accents or window grates, wrought-iron panels have moved into the realm of high design. These art pieces, which include scroll, rosette and fleur-de-lis designs, lend architectural interest, dimension and texture to bare walls in a way paintings or prints cannot.
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Many wrought-iron wall accents have a rustic, Tuscan or Spanish quality, with scrolls and curlicues. Wrought iron, however, is not the exclusive realm of Old World and traditional design. Pieces of gate, fencing and door hardware, for example, bring the outdoors in and look at home in a country-style or shabby-chic room. Some wrought-iron pieces look modern, especially if they have a graphic punch, such as layers of circles or rectangles.
Large-scale wrought-iron wall panels make wonderful art pieces, especially over a fireplace or sofa. But used elsewhere, they can be functional as well as decorative. Wrought iron can frame a mirror in an entryway or provide a spot for hanging keys. Pieces can include holders for votive candles or function as sconces. Some pieces even have fasteners to hold photographs, postcards and other mementos.
Because of its naturally rustic quality, wrought iron lends itself to outdoor decorative use. Wrought iron in the shape of a window, for example, can be mounted on a potting shed for added architectural interest. When hung atop a doorway, a semicircular wrought-iron grille can mimic an arched doorway. A piece hanging on a porch functions as wall art.
Wrought iron has been used to enhance architecture since ancient Roman times. The term ''wrought'' iron refers to the iron being ''worked'' or ''wrought'' into any shape or design. Because it has a low carbon content, wrought iron can be easily shaped and forged. Most home decor items available commercially today are not actually wrought iron, but steel or cast iron with the appearance of wrought iron. Authentic wrought-iron items are still forged in England.
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In today's world of home decor, the term ''wrought iron'' refers to any black or darkened piece of metalwork twisted into scrolls or other designs. Unlike the antique version, modern styles are moulded as opposed to hand-forged. When using a wrought-iron wall panel, hang it so the centre focal point is at eye-level. And wrought-iron accents on the wall should be repeated in accessories on tables or at the fireplace for a cohesive design.
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